The State-Trait Hopelessness Scale: Development and Testing

Document Type


Publication Date



Hopelessness is predictive in the development of coronary heart disease (CHD) and can persist in patients after a CHD event, adversely affecting recovery. Hopelessness may represent a temporary response (state) or a chronic outlook (trait). Common hopelessness measures fail to differentiate state from trait hopelessness, a potentially important differentiation for treatment. The State-Trait Hopelessness Scale (STHS) was developed and pilot tested with two groups of college students (n = 39 and 190) and patients with CHD (n = 44). The instrument was then used with 520 patients, confirming reliability (Cronbach's ) for the State (.88) and Trait (.91) subscales and concurrent and predictive validity. Separate exploratory factor analyses showed two factors (hopelessness present or hopelessness absent) for the State and Trait subscales, accounting for 58.9% and 57.3% of variance, respectively. These findings support future use of the tool in clinical settings and in intervention studies focused on hopelessness.